Tell Me, Daddy, Was That Masked Man Robin Hood, Or Just Playing Him On TV?
So, I’m reading the latest Bay News, and there’s Jack Beardwood’s front page story, “Deer Killed With DFG’s Blessings,” complete with photo of a dead-as-a-doornail doe on the ground with an arrow sticking out of her neck.
O.K, so it turns out that a doe and her two fawns (along with, no doubt, other deer) have been coming down out of the hills for din-din in the Pecho Road area of Los Osos to raid various farms and, continues the story, “Other businesses in the area have had deer eating into their profits too. Hope Merkle, manager of the neighboring Los Osos Valley Nursery, said they have suffered about $5,000 in losses since February, due to the activity of five or six deer. Losses include $700 in avacdao plants, peas , petunias, geraniums, and apple trees. The deer also destroyed 40 rose bushes just before Mother’s Day. Price was $26 apiece. Despite their losses, she said they decided not to pursue a depredation permit.”
However, there are “commercial agricultural operations” out in that neck of the woods, full of “fruit trees, tomatoes and asparagus [that] had been eaten heavily by deer,” and the story implied that an [unnamed landowner] was the one who asked for and was granted a “depredation permit,” that is, a permit by Fish and Game that would allow the person in question to kill the deer that are munching up his crops.
Still O.K. Too bad, but, O.K. It happens. As the story notes, “When wildlife loses its fear of humans, there are harsh consequences, said F&G warden Lt. Dean] Hileman. For that reason, it is unlawful to feed deer and other wildlife. Deer attract mountain lions – their natural predators – and bucks that are no longer afraid of humans can become dangerous.”
“What I want to do is educate people on how important it is to keep our wildlife wild,” he said. “When we start making pets out of wildlife, whether intended or not, this will ultimately result in their demise. It is very unfortunate that wildlife has to suffer because of human interaction. We don’t want the two fawns stranded because their mom got shot.”
All too true, Lt. Hileman, all too true. But, then I get to this part in the story, the part about “an arrow embedded in [the doe’s] neck,” and this capper: The shooter apparently “used dogs to track the injured [doe, the one with the arrow in her neck] but gave up after it escaped to vacant land to the west of the nursery.”
Uh, so, let’s see if we have this straight; landowner gets fed up with depredations by deer, in this case a doe that apparently had fawns, said deer, that may or may not have been the crop muncher out of, apparently, a bunch of deer in the area that have gotten used to showing up because the humans didn’t make a point of shooing them away, fencing them out, or are growing edible stuff that hungry deer can’t resist, so the fed up landowner gets a depredation permit then goes out with a bow and arrow and shoots the doe through the neck, the doe runs because it wasn’t a clean shot, suffers God knows how long until she likely slowly bleeds to death and the shooter can’t find the body, even with dogs, and apparently doesn’t know about the fawns, and the doe finally dies?
Now, the questions: How many people do you know are dead shots with a bow and arrow? How many people do you know who THINK they are dead shots with a bow and arrow, fashion themselves Robin Hood, go shoot a deer and miss the clean kill-shot (hint: It’s not the neck, try lower down and towards the rear and hope your arrow doesn’t bounce off the ribcage?) so the animal end us with an arrow sticking out of it, runs away, thrashes around and dies slowly?
Right. I know a lot of Robin Hood wannabes, but very few who can make the cut to being the real thing.
So, do we need to be asking Fish & Game whether allowing civilians to hunt down deer with bow & arrows is actually a humane way to go? Lord knows, having some Los Ososian wandering around with a high-powered rifle is even creepier, but . . .
For now, the fawns are apparently old enough to forage on their own, but with no mom, they’ll likely run into trouble and end up either road kill or dinner for a hungry coyote or mountain lion. As Lt. Hileman said, “there are harsh consequences” when wildlife lose their fear of humans.
The story notes that F&G, “In anticipation of a public outcry caused by the killing of the deer” . . . “would hold a public meeting to address concerns. No date has been set but it would likely be held at the South Bay Community Center.”
Oh, goodie, can’t wait for THAT meeting. You thought Sewer War Meetings got lively, I can only imagine what that one will be like.
One serious question I will have is this: Since there are actually very few dead-eye dicks in the world, and even fewer Robin Hoods, instead of issuing “depredation permits” to people of, uh, unproven bushcraft skills – especially for use of bow and arrow, a notoriously sloppy weapon in untrained hands – would it have been safer, easier, and more humane to call in a F&G trained tracker/hunter for, at least, a clean kill?
Yeah, I know, too expensive, I’m sure.
Well, if nothing else, the meeting may be able to educate people out of their Disney Mind Frame – it’s not Bambi, Mother Nature is not kind, and the Law of Unintended Consequences are always in play.